Millvale teen, Shaler student earns rank of Eagle Scout
Monday, December 9, 2019 | 12:01 AM
Shaler Area High School senior Jacob Ishman didn’t realize how much North Hills Christian Church in Ross, where he worships with his family, needed a new entrance walkway until he started building one for his Eagle Scout project.
He used a hammer and reciprocating saw to remove the walkway’s aging wooden floorboards and railings guiding guests from lead pastor Rev. Ethan Harrington’s driveway to the church sanctuary. A band frequently carries instruments across the path to a church stage and attendants carry coffins along the walkway for funerals, Ishman said.
“When we were tearing it apart — we knew it was unsafe — but we didn’t know how unsafe it was. Because when we were taking out the floorboards that you would walk on, in the center, the support boards fell. … That could have collapsed any second,” he said.
Ishman and his father, Victor, his fellow Troop 138 Boy Scouts and their families built a new 8-foot-by-5-foot-by-9-foot raised walkway, using Trex wood-alternative, to make “it stronger, weather-proof it and make it safer,” according to Ishman. In the end, he devoted nearly 190 hours to the project.
Once the 18-year-old set his sights on attaining the Eagle Scout rank, he kept an eye out for assignments. After noticing the walkway’s continual deterioration, he sought church and scouting authorities’ permission to replace the path. After securing approval, North Hills Christian Church officials agreed to fund the replacement.
“Having Jacob invest his time, effort and skills into a renovated access walkway was not only a needed and appreciated utility, but it also serves as a powerful daily illustration of what it looks like to give and serve your friends, your church, your community and your family,” Harrington said.
Leadership is the greatest skill Ishman said that he gained from the experience.
“I needed to know this thing inside and out, so I could tell people what to do and prepare for things that might happen. So, I had to make sure that everybody was doing their thing as far as doing their work and staying safe,” he said.
Ishman spent the summer of 2017 constructing the walkway and officially received his Eagle Scout rank last month.
“Everything that I did over my scouting career has helped me achieve Eagle Scout. I will say that, I do admit, that there was a time that I wanted to quit because it got hard. But it’s something that you’ve got to stick with, and I’m very glad that I did stick with it. It showed me a lot of things that I wouldn’t have learned elsewhere,” he said, mentioning that he has gained cooking, nutrition, financial management, first aid and survival skills through Scouts.
He resides with parents Mary Ann and Victor in Millvale.